The Faculty of Science held its first Science & Business Workshop on Jan. 19. The event was the first in a four-part series that aims to support and resource graduate students considering careers in industry.
The workshop featured speaker Truong Ta, senior director of immunization policy at Sanofi Pasteur, and about 90 graduate students attended from biology, chemistry and other science, engineering and business disciplines.
“We aim to expose and prepare our graduate students to as wide a range of career options as possible,” said Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science. “By launching this workshop series and inviting speakers from industry, we hope to share insights into the transition from an academic to an industry environment.”
Ta spoke about his own career trajectory and background, highlighting the ways he was able to succeed in business from a platform of a PhD in the biological sciences. He offered advice on what students need to think about if they hope to make a transition to industry. Ta completed a PhD in chemistry at the University of Alberta and an MBA at York University’s Schulich School of Business. He has more than 15 years of experience in the life sciences sector, including more than 12 years of vaccine R&D, marketing, finance and policy experience. In his current role at Sanofi Pasteur, he oversees public affairs, government affairs and market access activities for vaccines in Canada.
Following his presentation, there was a lively Q&A that allowed students to ask their own questions.
The workshop series has been generously supported by Charles Hantho, a member of the Schulich School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, director at ZOOM Media and retired CEO of a large Canadian chemical company.
“Planning for a career outside the academic world can be a challenge,” said Hantho, who is interested in seeing students from scientific, engineering and other technical backgrounds become more connected and exposed to business thinking. “I was pleased to support this pilot initiative to contribute understanding and useful information to help science students reach this goal.”